Hacking Chaos: The Cornell Method of Note-Taking–Lisa Needham for Lawyerist

 

by Lisa Needham 

Taking notes by hand is better than typing notes, because it forces you to slow down and focus on what is important. Slowing down greatly increases your understanding of information, which is why you need to become better at note-taking.

That’s where the Cornell Method comes in. The Cornell Method has you separate your notes into note-taking portion, key points, and a summary. And it is ideal for lawyers.1

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If you’ve wondered why you take notes as you do at trial and have forgotten where you came up with the form you use, read the entire article, complete with illustrations.

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Model Legal Documents–NVCA Model Venture Capital Financing Documents

 

A “template” set of model legal documents for venture capital investments put together by a group of leading venture capital attorneys. The model venture capital financing documents consist of:

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Who Will “own” These Documents?

No one will own the documents. They will be in the public domain. However, the “mother” forms are posted here on the publicly accessible portion of the NVCA web site so that users downloading them from this site can be assured that they are always using the most current and up-to-date version.

 DISCLAIMER: EACH DOCUMENT IS INTENDED TO SERVE AS A STARTING POINT ONLY, AND SHOULD BE TAILORED TO MEET YOUR SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS. THE DOCUMENTS SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE FOR ANY PARTICULAR FACTS OR CIRCUMSTANCES.

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Read entire NVCA article with rationale for model documents here.

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New 1023-EZ Form Makes Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status Easier; Most Charities Qualify

The Internal Revenue Service this week introduced a new, shorter application form to help small charities apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status more easily.

The new Form 1023-EZ, available today on IRS.gov, is three pages long, compared with the standard 26-page Form 1023. Most small organizations, including as many as 70 percent of all applicants, qualify to use the new streamlined form. Most organizations with gross receipts of $50,000 or less and assets of $250,000 or less are eligible.

 

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The new EZ form must be filed online. The instructions include an eligibility checklist that organizations must complete before filing the form.

The Form 1023-EZ must be filed using pay.gov, and a $400 user fee is due at the time the form is submitted. Further details on the new Form 1023-EZ application process can be found in Revenue Procedure 2014-40, posted today on IRS.gov.

 

 

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CFPB Finds Private Student Loan Borrowers Face “Auto-Default” When Co-Signer Dies or Goes Bankrupt > Blog > Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

 

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the CFPB issued a consumer advisory to borrowers about how to release their co-signers from their loans. Many lenders advertise that a co-signer may be released from a private student loan after a certain number of consecutive, timely payments and a credit check to determine if the borrower is eligible to repay the loan on their own. But most student loan servicers do not tell consumers when they are eligible to release their co-signer, so consumers need to ask directly for information on how to do this.

To help borrowers release their co-signers, the CFPB has put together instructions that consumers can edit and send to their student loan servicer. They can download sample letters to send by mail, or they can just cut and paste the text when they log into their account on the servicer’s website. Sample letters include those from the student who may want to release their co-signer, and those from the co-signer who may want to be released.

The advisory can be found at:
http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/consumer-advisory-co-signers-can-cause-surprise-defaults-on-your-private-student-loans/

The sample letter on how a borrower can release a co-signer is at:
http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201404_cfpb_inquiry-letter_how-to-release-cosigner.doc

The sample letter on how to be released as a co-signer is at:
http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201404_cfpb_inquiry-letter_how-to-be-released-as-cosigner.doc

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act established an ombudsman for student loans within the CFPB to assist borrowers with student loan complaints. The ombudsman is submitting today’s midyear report to the Director of the CFPB, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Education, and Congress.

The CFPB began accepting consumer complaints about private student loans in March 2012.

More information is at: consumerfinance.gov/students.

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Read entire CFPB Report Here.

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My Health Care Wishes App-ABA

 

The My Health Care Wishes smartphone app gives individuals the ability to store and share important health care wishes. In an emergency, you’ll have immediate access to a PDF version of your advance directive.

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An example:  Your Dad is 89 and your Mom is, 91. He takes her to the hospital and she’s admitted to the ICU but he’s told he can’t make medical decisions for her even if she is incapacitated. She’s his wife and he’s her proxy. What’s this about? He brought the wrong form with him! He brought the Power of Attorney document (POA) that only applies to financial & legal decisions. The Durable Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA) is what he needs but it’s at home and no one else is there. He has a cell phone, calls you, his daughter. You have what he needs securely stored on your Smartphone –the document showing your Dad as primary proxy. A click and the correct document is emailed, and your Dad losing little time tells doctors what his wife of 65 years wants.

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Read entire article describing app here.

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The Pro version is US $3.99.  The Lite version is Free.  Check the App store to compare.

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Offer In Compromise Form (Updated)–IRS

 Do You Have the Most Recent Offer-In-Compromise Form?


When submitting an Offer in Compromise for your client, use the January 2014 versions of Form 656-B, Offer in Compromise Booklet, and Form 656, Offer in Compromise. The OIC user fee has increased from $150 to $186 in January. IRS will return applications submitted on older versions of the form with the old user fee.

 

Click here for updated Offer in Compromise Booklet.

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How to Organize Paperless Client Files-Sam Glover

 

Sam has a simple, effective system for his paperless files.  Read about it and view his screen shots here.
 
 

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DIY Law Firm Letterhead Using Microsoft Word-Lawyerist

While you may have to use a commercial printer for business cards, you do not necessarily need professionally-printed letterhead. If you already have a logo, you don’t even need professionally-designed letterhead; you can just DIY.

This is especially true when you consider that most correspondence never gets printed, and a lot of correspondence does not go out on letterhead in the first place. This makes DIY letterhead an increasingly defensible choice. Using resources likeTypography for Lawyers, a few Word tips, and perhaps a bit of well-placed graphic design help, you can design your own letterhead. Here are step-by-step instructions for designing your own letterhead in Microsoft Word, plus examples from Lawyerist readers who have done just that.

Unless otherwise noted below, all instructions, screenshots and videos are for Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows.

Read the entire “how-to” article here.

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How do I sign a PDF?–Acrobat for Legal Professionals

The Acrolaw Blog is a resource for lawyers, law firms, paralegals, legal IT pros and anyone interested in the use of Acrobat in the legal community. Rick Borstein, blog author, is a Principal Solutions Consultant with Adobe Systems Incorporated.

In the past, Rick has discussed a two-step process to stamp and flatten a PDF. See Create a Transparent Signature Stamp and Flatten the stamp with a free Action.

Although the process isn’t’ difficult, Reader XI and Acrobat XI have made the process much simpler using the newSign panel:

Read Rick’s article by clicking below:

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Certificate of Merit Pursuant to CPLR 3012-b (New York)

Pursuant to L. 2013, c. 306, effective August 30, 2013, plaintiffs commencing residential foreclosure actions are required to serve and file a certificate of merit, together with copies of relevant financial documents, with the summons and complaint. In response to requests from the bar, the Office of Court Administration has drafted a model form for this purpose. Practitioners may, of course, employ their own form of certificate to comply with the statute; use of the OCA model form is not mandatory.

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